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By Lawrence C. Becker, Charlotte B. Becker

This newly revised and up-to-date version of A heritage of Western Ethics is a coherent and obtainable evaluation of crucial figures and influential rules of the background of ethics within the Western philosophical culture.

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SCOTT DAVIS psychology, not to mention the diversity of sins, it is important that conscience be examined so that in making restitution all parties—God, the sinner, the human victim, and society as a whole—be treated fairly. Thus the early medieval period lays the foundation for causistry, the examination of the casus conscientiae that is essential to determining equity, what the high middle ages will, following Aristotle, come to call epieikeia. A famous popular example is the legend of Gregory’s intercession for the pagan emperor Trajan, whose justice to a wronged widow so moved Gregory that his tears were accounted the equal of baptism and served to redeem the just Roman.

For Lucretius, there is only one way to salvation—the philosophy of Epicurus. Liberated from fear of death and religion, unencumbered by groundless desires for power and status, Epicureans can live trouble-free lives, content with satisfying their natural desires and enjoying the company of their friends. It should be clear from what has been said above that this quietism did not sit well with the Roman ethical tradition. Coming when it did however, at the collapse of the Republic, Lucretius’s work was a significant challenge to Roman values, whether in their idealized or in their perverted manifestations.

London: Dent, 1995. Foucault, Michel. Technologies of the Self. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988. See especially for the contributions of the Roman Stoics. Barnes, eds. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989. Specific aspects are well considered in this anthology. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1969. Translated by Michael Chase. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998. A. Long. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988. See for Roman Stoics. Schofield, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

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